What does the changing climate sound like? This is a strange question, but one that has an answer to thanks to University of Minnesota student Daniel Crawford, who turned climate change data from 1880 to 2012 into a musical composition.
Crawford used surface temperature data provided by NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies and used data sonification to translate temperature records into musical notes.
The resulting musical piece is called A Song of Our Warming Planet. Each note represents a year and the pitch reflects the average temperature. This means low notes represent the cooler years and higher notes the warmer years.
The musical piece is definitely different from the usual visual graphs and charts that we see on TV or in papers. Crawford hopes that the cello piece will be used to support science outreach and has even released the sound files with a Creative Commons license.
The video below shows Crawford talking about how the composition came about. It also shows him playing the piece on his cello. The video ends with a message stating that by the end of the century, scientists predict that the global temperature will rise by another 1.8°C (3.2°F), which, if translated into music, would mean a series of notes that are too high for humans to hear.